Sexism, prescribed gender roles, and double standards surround us all. It’s infuriating. That’s why one dad was surprised recently when he called out a sexist sign in a supermarket parking lot, and got an immediate response.
According to SomeECards, Canadian dad Justin Simard was at a Sobeys grocery store with his baby. Sobeys very nicely reserved some special parking spots near the store for pregnant people and people traveling with small children. But when Simard pulled into one, he saw that the sign only said “mothers with small children.”
— Justin Simard (@JustinSimard) August 21, 2017
“Crap, am I allowed to park here?” he Tweeted, along with a photo of himself standing in front of the “Expectant mothers/Mothers with small children sign.” Simard is not a mother, but he very clearly has a small child strapped to his chest.
Dads aren’t babysitters.
Simard added the hashtags #notababysitter and #dadissues. This is an issue many dads face. They’re treated like babysitters, or like they’re incompetent to take care of children. Fathers are parents. Many find it deeply frustrating to be treated like they’re secondary parents. It feeds into the idea that raising babies is “women’s work,” which puts all the parenting on a mother’s shoulders and excludes fathers. That’s not good for anybody.
A sexist supermarket parking lot sign might not be the greatest injustice in the world, but it’s annoying. Dads go grocery shopping with babies. Men change diapers. It’s not fair to assume only mothers travel with babies, or that only mothers change diapers. (If I’m out at a restaurant and I am stuck on diaper duty–even when it’s not my turn–because the only changing table is in the ladies’ room, I am going to be very put out.)
“When I went to get out of my car, the person in the spot next to me gave me a dirty look, which quickly vanished when I took my son out of his car seat,” he told the Huffington Post. “Then the wording of the sign bothered me. What about single fathers? What about same sex couples? It occurred to me that the sign could be more inclusive.”
The supermarket responded and said he was right, and they should change the signs.
The store responded right away and said Simard was right. The sign was for anybody with small children, and it was badly worded.
You are definitely entitled to that parking spot, Justin! Which location was this so we can update the signage? #SuperDad
— Sobeys (@sobeys) August 21, 2017
The company says it’s looking into changing the signs at all its stores. It’s great that they were so responsive. Making the signs more inclusive is a good decision.
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(Image: Twitter / @JustinSimard)